People really are starting to get me worried. I’m sure it’s nothing
per-sonal, but just about anywhere you go these days that is even
remotely new-media related - take any bar in London, for example -
invariably the talk seems to turn to the burning question that appears
to be taxing most of the finest young minds around: ’what’s your
Initially my response to this question, which is always asked in a
slightly furtive manner (arm goes up and hand scratches the back of the
head), is that I don’t have one. You know, which is like, the truth. The
other variation on the theme is this; people sidle up to you and say
’S-O-O-O ...’ (and it’s always a big, long, capital letters, slow
rolling use of the word) ’I hear you’re joining a start-up.’
This happened to me at a conference very recently and it does not matter
what answer you give, how desperately you try to deny and extricate
yourself, they will not believe you. The word is, apparently, out.
When you tell people you don’t have a start-up idea and, furthermore,
you are not working on one, this invariably triggers a slightly
suspicious look and various suggestions are, in no time at all, offered
forth that you are (a) of independent means, or (b) lucratively employed
running drugs or guns; I’m just kidding about the drugs, by the way, or
(c) you are retarded in some way. Please double-click the option that
best applies to you.
However, the frequency with which this question is asked is becoming
alarming. It’s even starting to rattle my once ice-cool demeanour, which
might well be gone by the time you read this. The tables have been
It is now no longer acceptable to say ’I don’t have a start-up idea and
I’m not working on one’, as this response is met by a slightly
dismissive sneer, that implies what kind of loser are you?
The answer is clear to me. I’m a loser lacking a start-up idea (arrrgh,
help). Alternatively, I am a loser who has not joined a start-up
More vexing still, you now find that everyone, but everyone, who has
ever asked you this question has - since you last saw them vomiting in
the bathroom at some new-media party or other - launched/is about to/is
involved on a strategic/development level in a start-up.
I have decided upon radical action and I am going to remedy this
situation forthwith. If anyone wants me this weekend I will be holed up
at a secret location in Highbury (OK, so it’s my flat) with a select
group of confederates (my flat mates).
We will be addressing the issue of the lack of take-away menus at
moments of culinary crises (most nights, I’m afraid). There has to be a
digital solution to this everyday problem of food slacking. Maybe even
It isn’t registered. Yet.
Sure, it’s a long domain name at 16 characters. But you never know. The
message is that if you’re going to do start-up, then do one you are
genuinely interested in. Vietnamese take-away it is, then.
Edited by Gordon MacMillan Tel: 0181-267 4904 E-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org campaign website: www.campaignlive.com.